Localization and production of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in human healthy and atherosclerotic arteries.
High plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1), the principal inhibitor of the fibrinolytic system, have been associated with thrombotic and arterial disease. To study PAI-1 expression in healthy and atherosclerotic human arteries, a detailed analysis was made by light and electron microscopy immunocytochemistry and by in situ hybridization. In healthy arteries PAI-1 was found both at the level of endothelial cells and of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) of the arterial media. In early atherosclerotic lesions PAI-1 was also detected in intimal SMCs and in extracellular areas in association with vitronectin. Immunogold analysis by electron microscopy revealed PAI-1 in vesicular structures in endothelial cells and in SMCs with normal or foam cell characteristics. In advanced atheromatous plaques, PAI-1 mRNA expression in SMCs within the fibrous cap was increased compared with SMCs located in the adjacent media or in normal arterial tissue. PAI-1 mRNA was also detected in macrophages located at the periphery of the necrotic core. The increased synthesis of PAI-1 by cellular components of the atherosclerotic plaque and the extracellular accumulation of PAI-1 may contribute to the thrombotic complications associated with plaque rupture and possibly play a role in the accumulation of extracellular matrix deposits.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association